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J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2012 Apr;143(4):815-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2011.12.031. Epub 2012 Feb 9.

Leukocyte-depleted blood transfusion is associated with decreased survival in resected early-stage lung cancer.

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Department of Surgery, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.



Blood transfusion has been shown to have deleterious effect on lung cancer survival, but little data are available that assess whether leukocyte-depleted (LD) blood has a similar adverse effect. Our institution has been using LD red cells since 2001. We sought to determine whether LD blood has an effect on survival after resection of early-stage lung cancer.


From a prospective database, we evaluated all patients with pathologic stage I non-small cell lung cancer. Patients receiving LD blood were compared with those receiving no transfusion. Survival was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method and compared using the log-rank test. Multivariate analysis by Cox regression was used to identify independent risk factors affecting survival.


From 2001 to 2009, 361 patients were evaluated; 63 received LD red cell cell transfusion and 298 received no transfusion. Median follow-up was 48 months. Disease-free survival (P < .001) and overall survival (P < .001) were worse in patients receiving LD blood. Stratifying for stage, disease-free survival continued to be worse with transfusion for stage IA (P = .002) and IB (P = .002). Similarly, overall survival continued to be worse with transfusion for stage IA (P < .001) and IB (P < .001). For disease-free and overall survival, univariate analysis revealed increased age, male gender, anemia, transfusion, and higher stage to be adverse factors, with transfusion and higher stage continuing to be significant adverse factors after multivariate analysis.


Our data suggest that transfusion of LD blood is associated with a worse disease-free and overall survival in patients with resected stage I non-small cell lung cancer.

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